Category Archives: Nature

Sights and smells of the great outdoors.

Photo Challenge: Slope

Slope, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

One of my first thoughts to this photo challenge was mathematical: slope equals rise over run. My dad – a retired high school math teacher – chose the top picture because it clearly shows a slope of about 30 degrees. I’m definitely my father’s daughter!

Rock, Sagebrush and Tree, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

All three pictures are of Dry Land Pasture in Eastern Montana. It’s pasture, according to Dad, because “there’s grass and they run cows on it.” Dad may have been a math teacher, but he was always glad to help friends out on a ranch: milking a cow if they had to be out of town, branding calves in the spring, haying fields and stacking bales in summer, feeding cattle in the winter.

Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

This particular August day Dad and I and one of my nephews were out at the Neumann Ranch to check the garden and to play with our cameras. Glad to have a chance to share a few shots. Thanks, Frank, for the photo challenge!

Photo Challenge: Steep

Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone National Park. Photo: TLClark, 10/10/2018

I don’t remember taking family vacations as a kid growing up in eastern Montana. I do remember camping trips – to Medicine Rocks State Park, the Long Pines, the Beartooth Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.

As a young, single, professional adult working in Helena, Montana, I took a Girl Scout Troop (Juniors) to Yellowstone National Park (with other adults to help drive and supervise).

But as far as I can remember, last fall – when my husband and I were doing a little sight-seeing on our way home from a wedding – was the first time I stopped to see Gibbon Falls.

It is as steep as it looks – straight down on both sides of the Gibbon River! Gibbon Falls itself has a drop of 84 feet (26 m).

Thanks, Frank, for the challenge!

Leaves: First Snow

Crabapple Leaves with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.

First snowfall of the season in Ankeny, Iowa, October 29, 2019. Pictures of leaves on trees in our yard or the neighbor’s yard taken mid-morning. Most of the snow had melted by Noon.

Leaves with Snow against Sky. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Long Pine Needles with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Brown Leaf with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Maple Leaf in Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Red Stem of Maple Leaf. Photo: TLClark, 10/19/19.
Neighbor’s Tree. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.

Photo Challenge: Coast

Oregon Coast at the Mouth of the Columbia River. Photo: TLClark, 5/12/2010.

The only “coasts” in Iowa are along the boundaries marked by the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. So I took some time to go back through vacation photos to meet the photo challenge of coast.

One of our favorite places to vacation is Astoria, Oregon. It always includes time just watching the waves roll in where the Pacific Ocean meets the mouth of the Columbia River.

Oregon Coast at the Mouth of the Columbia River. Photo: TLClark, 10/13/2011.

The first two photos are looking north toward the state of Washington (which can be seen in the top picture) . The next picture is looking south along the Oregon Coast.

John Watching the Waves, Oregon Coast. Photo: TLClark, 10/13/11.

This last image shows the observation platform from which the other pictures were taken.

Pacific Ocean, NW Oregon Coast. Photo: TLClark, 10/13/11.

Thank-you, Frank, for the challenge!

Photo Challenge: Fuzzy

Fuzzy Spider Web. Photo: TLClark, 9/21/19.

I left the camera at home when heading out the door for a walk this morning. It looked like it could rain and I wasn’t very hopeful about finding anything fuzzy for Frank’s Tuesday photo challenge. After noticing cattails and milkweed and a few other potentially fuzzy subjects I circled back home, grabbed the camera, and headed out again.

Spider in Fuzzy Web. Photo: TLClark, 9/21/19.

Spiderwebs were the surprise of the day! I definitely did not see them until getting off the path. With prey as big as the predator the spider web in the next photo caught my eye first. Just beyond it was a web that had caught all sorts of fluffy, fuzzy stuff (top two pictures)!

A Spider with Breakfast. Photo: TLClark, 9/21/19.

Neither the cattails nor the milkweed were particularly fuzzy. But here are two other plants ready to spread their white fuzzy seeds.

Photo: TLClark, 9/21/19.
Photo: TLClark, 9/21/19.

Photo Challenge: Focus

Barbed Wire, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/13/2012.

I was eager to play with my camera in response to the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Focus. But rain one day and wind the next made focusing more of a challenge than I cared to attempt. I perused my digital photography files instead.

The barbed wire photo was a surprise! I took pictures rather than help Dad water the garden at the Neumann Ranch that day. There are other fence pictures in the batch none that fit the challenge so well.

Wild Plum and Leaf, Neumann Ranch, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/2012.

Picking wild plums is a fond memory of my childhood. In a good year there were more than enough plums to eat your fill and fill-up a bucket so Mom could make plum jelly. It was fun to find plums ripe enough to pick six years ago when back for a visit.

Wheat, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/26/2008.

While I live in corn and soybean country these days, the grain grown where I grew up was wheat. I remember wishing I had more time to try again after reviewing the wheat pictures I took there more than a decade ago. Nevertheless this particular one seems to fit the challenge: a few heads of grain in focus, the rest caught in the wind.

Pink Flowers and a Butterfly at Reiman Gardens

Butterfly on Flower, Butterfly House, Reiman Gardens. Photo: TLClark, 8/23/19.

We always take time for the Butterfly Wing when visiting Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University. Before opening the door the guide told us the butterflies “are active today.” He was right – just a few of the 500+ butterflies were in the mood to pose.

Wild Rose, Reiman Gardens. Photo: TLClark, 8/23/19.

The staff was out watering the flowers, hence the water droplets on the rose (above).

Flowers, Reiman Gardens. Photo: TLClark, 8/23/19.

It was bright sunshiny day – the light was almost too harsh for getting decent pictures of some flowers. But it was fun to try!